Reflection for Thursday, April 30, 2020: 3rd Week of Easter.

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Morse, Edward
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|Today's readings begin with the story of the Ethiopian eunuch.  We never learn his name, but what an interesting fellow he must have been!|Instead of worshipping the gods of his own country and people, he journeyed to Jerusalem to worship God.  As a eunuch, a condition likely thrust upon him so that he could serve the queen, ancient law considered him tainted and restricted his participation in the people of God. See Deuteronomy 23:1. He came to worship God anyway.|On the way back home, he is reading Isaiah on a scroll.  He must have been learned to read this text, likely not in his own language.  He reads as he moves along, with only the sounds of horses' hoofs and chariot wheels crunching the dry ground.  Perhaps he appreciated the opportunity for quiet reflection, away from palace meetings and distractions.  He may sit in a chariot seat instead of a car or airplane seat, but he resembles us after all (albeit without ear buds, iPad, etc.)  I am liking him more already. |He was not only pious and learned, he was also curious.  He was reading Isaiah chapter 53, which contains the suffering servant narrative.  Just a few verses later, Isaiah also writes:|The foreigner joined to the LORD should not say, "The LORD will surely exclude me from his people"; Nor should the eunuch say, "See, I am a dry tree." For thus says the LORD:  To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose what pleases me, and who hold fast to my covenant, I will give them, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; an eternal name, which shall not be cut off, will I give them. (Is. 56:3-5). |As a foreigner and a eunuch, this passage of grace, love, and hope must have also spoken to his heart, preparing him to wonder how these things might be accomplished. Unbeknownst to him, the prophesy of the suffering servant, which he was then pondering, provides the key. A divine appointment with Philip would soon reward his curiosity with understanding.|This story beautifully illustrates the saying that "opportunity favors a prepared mind".  Philip's presence nearby and the Holy Spirit's prompting came at a time when this man was open to Philip's words.  After baptism, he went on his way rejoicing – and I guess that Philip did too!  |At this time, we are ordinarily welcoming catechumens and candidates who have been joined to the church at Easter.  Perhaps they will identify with this story and share in a sense of wonder, as they share a similar experience of being drawn into a new relationship accompanied by revealed truth.  All who are called to a relationship with Christ can share in that wonder.  We have sensed that God is patiently drawing us toward a future and hope that is rooted in His Son Jesus Christ, who is the bread of life we read about in today's gospel.|Are we prepared to recognize the divine appointments happening all around us?  God is calling us to journey with him.  Preparation and curiosity are needed, as well as patience and endurance.  Let us journey on and be taught by God as we go on our way rejoicing.  Thanks be to God.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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